Tottenham vs Barcelona match preview

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Christian Eriksen (abdominal injury), Dele Alli (hamstring), Jan Vertonghen (hamstring) and Mousa Dembele (thigh) are all likely to miss out. Eriksen scored in Tottenham’s 2-1 loss at Inter Milan in their opening group match last month. Tottenham and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will return for Wednesday’s Champions League Group B tie against Barcelona at Wembley.

The 31-year-old has missed the club’s past six games after injuring his thigh against Manchester United in August. Spurs will be without a number of senior players, however. Barcelona are top of the group after they began their campaign with a 4-0 home victory over Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, Lionel Messi scoring a record eighth hat-trick in the competition.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, who is also without right-back Serge Aurier (thigh), said: “It is a period when we are not having good luck with injuries. “We are not victims though. We must feel strong. Every player must feel they can win and achieve what we want.

“In the Premier League, it is very tough and physical. We had to make a few changes during the Huddersfield game but football is about the squad. “We need to make sure every player feels important.” Harry Winks and Victor Wanyama, who came on at half-time during the 2-0 win over the Terriers, could start against Barcelona.

Kane vs Messi

‘We have to win’

Defender Danny Rose says Spurs must win on Wednesday after conceding twice in the last five minutes to throw away a lead and lose against Inter. “We’re all bitterly disappointed from how the Milan game finished,” said Rose. “We have to win. We’re fully aware of that. We’ve proved that we can do it. At the minute we’re winning ugly.”

Defeat by Inter was Spurs’ third in a row, but they have since won three successive games to climb to fourth in the Premier League and reach the Carabao Cup fourth round. Spanish champions Barcelona have taken only two points from their past three games in La Liga, having salvaged a point with a late equaliser at home to Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Messi started that game as a substitute, but came off the bench and set up Barcelona’s goal. Harry Kane has scored five times this season, including three in his past two games, and Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde called the England striker “a decisive player”.

“We know his quality and the danger he poses in the penalty area,” added the Spaniard. “We cannot compare him between last year or this year. So we just expect his best performance and we have to try to prevent him playing his best.”

Match facts

  • Barcelona have lost just one of their last 11 Champions League matches against English clubs (won eight, drew two). However, they are without a win in their last two visits to England in the competition (drew one, lost one), a 1-1 draw with Chelsea last season and a 3-1 defeat at Manchester City in 2016-17.
  • This will be only the third match between Tottenham and Barcelona and the first since April 1982 in the semi-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup, which Barcelona won 2-1 on aggregate.
  • Spurs won all three home games in last season’s Champions League group stage, scoring three goals in each.
  • Pochettino has won only once in nine previous meetings with Barcelona as a manager in all competitions (drew three, lost five), all with former club Espanyol.
  • Away from home, Barcelona have won just one of their last seven Champions League games (drew three, lost three), a 1-0 win over Portuguese side Sporting CP in last season’s group stage.
  • Spurs have only drawn one of their 12 home games in the Champions League (won seven, drew one, lost four), with that coming back in March 2011 against AC Milan (0-0).
  • Harry Kane has scored nine goals in 11 Champions League appearances, however only 33% of those have come at home (three out of nine).
  • Messi has scored more goals (20) and provided more assists (six) against English clubs in the Champions League than against sides from any other nation.
  • Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has been directly involved in six goals in his last three appearances against Tottenham in all competitions (four goals, two assists), all with Liverpool in the Premier League between March 2013 and March 2014.
  • Gerard Pique could make his 100th Champions League appearance, becoming the 10th Spaniard to reach this landmark. In fact, more Spanish players have played 100+ games in the Champions League than any other nationality.

Source: BBC News

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